Finding the right speargun is a crucial step in assisting your underwater hunting skills. The best spearguns will pay for themselves after a few successful shots as they will provide you and your friends or family with many dinners – and the freezer will never be empty.
But, like most investments, it’s important to research your options and understand the piece of equipment you’re purchasing. The types of fish and species you plan on hunting, as well as your hunting ability and diving/freediving capabilities will all dictate the type of speargun you buy.
Here at The Adventure Junkies, we want to make your life easier when it comes to making the big decisions regarding spearfishing. In this guide, we’ll walk you through how to choose the best speargun for your type of hunting and show you a selection of the best models of the year.
For more of our top spearfishing gear recommendations, check out the Best Spearfishing Masks.
QUICK ANSWER – THE BEST SPEARGUNS
1. JBL WOODY MAGNUM
2. MARES STEN
3. BEAUCHAT AKRA COMPETITION
4. CRESSI COMANCHE
5. CRESSI SL STAR
6. CRESSI APACHE
7. BEAUCHAT ESPADON
COMPARISON TABLE – THE BEST SPEARGUNS
JBL WOODY MAGNUM
BEST FOR: Game fish
SPEAR: Bulletnose Breakaway
PROS: Powerful spear
CONS: Heavy spear, best left for those with experience
BEST FOR: Reef fish, game fish
LEGNTH: 16.5″ to 39.4″
SPEAR: Double barbed
PROS: Ergonomic handle, hydrodynamic muzzle, easy to load
CONS: Supplied spear very weak
BEUCHAT ARKA COMPETITION
BEST FOR: Reef/shallow spearfishing
LENGTH: 19.7” to 39.4”
SPEAR: Tahitian style
PROS: Tough but lightweight, inexpensive
CONS: Cheaper materials, not as durable
BEST FOR: Reef spearfishing
LENGTH: 23.6″ to 43.3″
SPEAR: Single Flopper Barb Pointed Tip
PROS: Anti-corrosion aluminium tubes, easy loading, quiet
CONS: Not so good with bigger fish
CRESSI SL STAR
BEST FOR: Reef spearfishing, small to medium fish
LENGTH: 15.75″ to 27.5″
PROS: Ergonomic grip, lightweight, safety catch to prevent accidental firing, good for low visibility conditions
CONS: Spear can be tricky to attach into place
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BEST FOR: Small to medium fish
LENGTH: 13.8″ to 29.5″
SPEAR: Tahitian style
PROS: Compact and lightweight, good entry-level spear or back up spear
CONS: Can be hard to load
BEST FOR: Small reef fish, low visibility conditions
LENGTH: 13.8″ and 19.7″
SPEAR: Single barb
PROS: Great entry-level spear, extremely affordable, short length ideal for shallow areas or in low-vis conditions
CONS: Not powerful, won’t last long if used regularly
HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST SPEARGUNS
1. TYPE OF SPEARFISHING
The type of spearfishing you plan to do will help dictate what kind of gun you should purchase, such as whether you plan to free dive or scuba dive. Some guns have a smaller range and are less powerful, which makes them ideal for targeting reef fish or spearing in shallow areas. If you plan on shooting big game fish then you’ll need a tougher spear with a longer range that’s powerful enough to kill a large fish quickly and accurately. You don’t want a weak speargun to pierce a big fish, which may continue to swim for some time and draw out its suffering. If you’re just starting out, chances are you’ll be sticking to shallower areas and smaller fish initially.
2. TYPE OF SPEAR
Spear guns typically come in two different types – band or pneumatic. Early spearguns were made from thick rubber bands and wood and are still widely used today. Keep in mind that a speargun will usually affect your buoyancy underwater.
The pneumatic speargun uses compressed air to fire the spear. This type of speargun is often smaller and more compact, which can be more convenient to carry around. However, they can be more difficult to load.
Band spearguns are quiet to use, although the rubbers usually require replacement after 6-12 months of use. It’s down to personal preference when it comes to choosing what type of spear, but band spearguns remain the most popular type of gun.
The length of your speargun can play a big role in your success spearfishing. For beginners, a smaller spear can be easier to handle while you are learning the mechanics and skills required for this sport. Shorter spearguns are also more ideal when swimming through caves or other tight spots. A longer spear is better suited to game fishing or “blue water hunting” – hunting in deeper waters. Longer speargun usually have a more powerful shot and longer range, which is required when hunting gamefish or other large fish species.
Speargun shafts (the actual spear which is fired from the gun) vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. Typically the different types of shafts include Tahitian style or Single Flopper, Double Flopper or Breakaway.
The breakaways are the heaviest and are best suited for big fish.
TAHITIAN (SINGLE FLOPPER)
The Tahitian or Single Flopper has a single barb coming from the spear and are usually the fastest type of shaft and are ideal for reef fish. They’re also easiest to remove from a fish.
The Double Flopper has two barbs on each side and is also better suited for larger species.
Your budget is an important consideration when thinking about what speargun to purchase. If you’re only starting out, there’s probably little need to buy a high-powered top-of-the-range speargun when you’ll spending most of your time hunting off the beach. Unless you’re lucky enough to have a boat, or know someone with a boat, and you’re guaranteed to be heading into deeper waters each trip. Of course if you’ve got a bit of experience, know how to handle power underwater and are looking for some big gamefish to feed all your mates, then a more expensive speargun will no doubt pay for itself in no time.